Solomon Graves has been named by Gov. Asa Hutchinson as incoming Arkansas Secretary of Corrections. Graves had served as chief of staff to outgoing Corrections Secretary Wendy Kelley – the first female to ever lead the state agency – who is retiring at the end of July.
“Solomon is stepping up during a difficult time in Arkansas, but with fourteen years of experience in adult corrections, he is well prepared for the task,” Gov. Hutchinson said Thursday (July 23). “In my time as governor, I have benefited from Solomon’s breadth of knowledge of the prison system and the wisdom of his counsel. He is a compassionate leader who will vigorously fulfill the state’s responsibility to assure public safety balanced with the need for rehabilitation and reentry support.”
The Board of Corrections will consider Gov. Hutchinson’s recommendation at a called meeting on July 28.
Before his work as chief of staff, Graves was public information officer for the Division of Correction. From 2007 to 2016, he was board administrator for the Parole Board. Graves was appointed by the governor to the Transformation Advisory Board in 2017, and served on the Governor’s Transformation Transition Team in 2019.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and a master’s degree in public administration from Webster University. He and his wife live in Little Rock and have a son.
“I am both humbled and honored by the faith shown in me by Gov. Hutchinson this afternoon through his announcement of his recommendation that I serve as the next secretary of the Arkansas Department of Corrections. I look forward to meeting with the Board of Corrections in the coming days as they consider the governor’s recommendation, and upon their confirmation to serving in this role,” Graves said.
The ADC employs more than 6,000 people. Arkansas’ correction system had 16,694 inmates at the end of May, down from 17,817 in May 2019.